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Dedicated to Scatha, Earl Shepherd's BMW Z4 M Coupe and first Art Car.

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In Detail


In this section I will highlight the design details of this Art Car's composition.  

"The road" is what Scatha is all about. In terms of the Art Car the driver's side is stylized from Hwy 154 going over the San Marcos pass towards Santa Barbara at sunset. The Passenger's side is inspired by Willow Springs International Raceway, the foremost race track during Scatha's development. In the front the two roads merge through the brake ducts. In the rear they merge behind the license plate. The road has some metallic paint mixed with the regular acrylic for extra luminescence.

the road     the road     the road     the road

As the white clouds and black night sky form a basic yin/yang it was necessary to have some elements form the "dots". On the hood I used the BMW M logo, custom Imola Red engine cover and oil filler cap. On the roof I used a top-down view of a helmet, above the driver's position. The helmet's ring is the original carbon fiber of the roof and the center of the helmet is the moon in the night sky.

yin yang     yin yang     BMW M badge     the moon

Other hood details include abstractions of the six S54 throttle bodies and the ASA supercharger from ESS's CFR500 kit.

S54 throttle body     ESS CFR-500 supercharger

The hood's clouds overlap the front bumper cover, and change from solid to triagular style in the process. Of other significance on the nose of the car are the BMW Roundel rimmed by original BMW factory Titanium Silver paint, and the grills that I painted in acrylic to mimic Titanium Silver and dark gray metallic plastic.

overlap     BMW Roundel     Z4 grill

The clouds on start on the passenger side as early morning, moisture laden cumulus. Then it transitions across to the hood changing to altostratus and finally cirrus. Toward the front of the car, on the track side, the white of the clouds becomes a reference to a "body in white" factory race car chassis.

desert clouds     desert clouds     desert clouds

The BMW M stripes and colored to the M badge, not the colors used most often in motorsport on race cars. They start at the Hofmeister Kink , overlapping each other to set up for the long run to the front of the car, accenting the body lines and also acting as a soft break between the desert dawn and midday sky of the hood.

BMW M stripes     BMW M stripes     BMW M stripes

The two "suns" are a primary component to the composition. On both sides they are the origin of all color, and source of light for shadows. On the driver's side I painted the modified side marker. On the passenger side I painted a custom made engine bay exhaust vent. Both have light rays projecting from them, accenting the diagonal character line of the Z4.

Z4 side marker     Z4 side marker exhaust vent

There are several important details on the passenger, or "track", side. First is the Budweiser Balcony accompanying turns 3 through 7 of Willow Springs International Raceway. Streets of Willow is also represented in the distance. The "sponsor stickers" represent companies the were significant in Scatha's developement. The number 400 is Scatha's North American prouction number. The 400 and "sponsors" are done in a dark metallic bronze to contrast with the cooler gray tone of the road, which has silver metallic in it.

Willow Springs International Raceway     Streets of Willow     ESS, StopTech, RPI, BBS, Nitto, OCRC     Z4 M Coupe production number

There are three significant transitions on this Art Car. First is the transition from the early morning dawn light to evening light through the clouds across the decklid. There is also the transition in the left rear quarter that moves from late afternoon light through twilight and untimately to a night ski on the roof. Similarly the bright sunset clouds on the left front fender transition to darker tones across the nose of the car.

clouds     night clouds     cloud transition

The rear is composed of two different sections. The decklid, which is split in two, blue and white. This is a loose homage to the Cobra Daytona Coupe, which I believe is a spiritual precursor to the Z4 M Coupe. In this case the blue is Interlagos Blue, the color of the first production BMW Z4 M Coupe to be officially shown to the public. The white, with the 400 number, is a reference again to a "body in white". This balances with the front of the car on the "track" side.I painted the trunk's M badge on the blue section in its stock location. The bumper is a transition from the Willow Springs mountains to a view of the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge on 154.

Cobra Daytona Coupe, Interlagos Blue, Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge     Z4 M Badge trunk     Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge on 154

The driver's side, or "street" side, is visually dominated by a blazing sunset. Also of note are the lights on the radio towers on Broadcast Peak overlooking San Marcos pass, as well as the lights of the city of Santa Barbara as they turn on before dark.

Santa Barbara     Broadcast peak antenna     Santa Barbara at sunset

I tried to preserve and highlight the lines of the Z4 M Coupe as much as possible within this composition. In some cases this meant following a body line, in other cases it meant straddling it. And sometimes I would repeat multiple curves' termination points so that they were tangental to a significant body line. Below are examples of these choices.

Z4 M body lines     Z4 M body lines     Z4 M body lines     Z4 M body lines     Z4 M body lines     Z4 M body lines     Z4 M body lines     Z4 M body lines

Sheen has played an important role in my more recent paintings, and while not as significant in this composition there are some areas to note. The front splitter, rear view mirrors and the lowest portion of the rear bumper are all flat coated after being painted black. This was to accentuate the gloss and depth of the paint on the car's body. I also mixed in some pearlescent powder into the gloss of the ocean beyond Santa Barbara, so that it will twinkle faintly as the viewer moves around the car.

matte black rearview mirrors     matte black rearview mirrors     matte black rearview mirrors     metallic ocean

There are other elements to the composition worth mentioning, lest they escape notice. The night sky around the moon has constellations in it. The primary emphasis is on Orion, but the other stars are accurate according to Google Sky. You may notice in this picture of the sky, and the picture of the nose below, that there is much more color difference in these dark areas than shows up in the other photos. This is because of the light metering limitations of a camera, as opposed to the human eye. This is one reason I suggest you see Scatha in person (follow myartcar on Twitter for showing updates). The factory tow hooks are in place, front and rear. The covers are painted as well, but I leave them off for track use. Lastly, my signature, which is in the lower right of the painting.

Orion     the nose     BMW tow hook     BMW tow hook     signature

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